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Avi Moaz to head new Jewish National Identity Authority

The Noam Party leader will return to the government as a deputy minister.

Noam Party Chairman Avi Maoz speaks at the Knesset, Dec. 5, 2022. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Noam Party Chairman Avi Maoz speaks at the Knesset, Dec. 5, 2022. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.

The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday was expected to approve the appointment of Noam Party leader and sole representative in the Knesset Avi Maoz as a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Maoz will return to the position three months after submitting his resignation and will oversee the Jewish National Identity Authority, whose establishment the government was also expected to approve on Sunday. 

Maoz threatened to withhold his vote for the state budget passed last week unless the authority was established. In the end, he voted for the 2023-24 budget along with every other member of the 64-seat coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Jewish National Identity Authority will receive a budget this year of 120 million shekels ($32 million) and next year of 165 million shekels ($44 million). 

Education Minister Yoav Kisch clarified in a Twitter post published on Sunday morning that there would be “no change in the ministry’s policy and enrichment programs.”

The minister added a photo showing a section of the government’s draft decision on the issue that the authority will be separate from the Education Ministry.

“All powers were and remain in the hands of the Ministry of Education alone,” Kisch emphasized.

According to the proposal put forward for the authority, it will strengthen national identity through “various projects, including research, support, scholarships, joint initiatives, activities for various groups, including youth, adults, individuals with special needs and additional populations.”

The authority will also grant “aid and support to educational institutions in the realm of Jewish national identity, in coordination with the education minister and with his permission,” as well as “publications for the general public on the deepening and strengthening of Jewish national identity.”

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